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Marcel's Retirees, Part One: Position Players

Tom Tango's Marcel the Monkey Forecasting System is similar in concept to the CHONE, PECOTA and ZiPS systems which are often thrown around this time of year. Click here for a full explanation and here is a summary of the methodology:

It is the most basic forecasting system you can have, that uses as little intelligence as possible. So, that's the allusion to the monkey. It uses 3 years of MLB data, with the most recent data weighted heavier. It regresses towards the mean. And it has an age factor.

The projections are available at Fangraphs, side-by-side with the Bill James, CHONE and Fan projections. Tango also makes the gigantic Marcel files available at his website. Anyone who played in MLB from 2007-2009 has a projection, meaning retirees like Barry Bonds and Mike Mussina are included. Rather than checking out Sporcle or the MikeFrancesaNY Twitter on my lunch break, I put together a team of retirees while enjoying a Wendy's Baconator. Keep in mind this isn't exactly a scientific exercise -- I sorted the data by age and picked the best at each position. It's possible someone was overlooked.

Certain players have higher reliability scores than others. Desi Relaford hasn't played since 2007 and his reliability score is 0.07 -- for comparison, David Wright's is 0.87. Higher = more reliable. Additionally, most of the retirees aren't projected to have many plate appearances or innings pitched, so I included some backups who would hypothetically fill-in for these creaky old-timers. Here are the position players, with projected wOBA included (note that Marcel doesn't project defense):


(click to embiggen)

For the heck of it, let's compare the retiree starting lineup to the Mets' starting lineup, in descending Marcel wOBA order:

Retiree wOBA Met wOBA
Bonds .364 Wright .386
Young .346 Bay .368
Alou .343 Reyes .359
Kent .330 Pagan .343
Lofton .328 Murphy .338
Spiezio .319 Castillo .324
Relaford .316 Francoeur .319
Piazza .310 Santos .308

How about a Bonds/Francoeur platoon? Just kidding. As expected, the Mets are superior, both at the plate and (almost certainly) in the field. Of the retirees, Kenny Lofton is probably the best bet to realistically have any usefulness. For whatever reason, it always seemed like he had a little of that Rickey Henderson-esque "I can play forever" mentality. Lofton accumulated 65 WAR in his career -- more than both Roberto Alomar and Dave Winfield, in about 1000 less plate appearances. But enough about Kenny.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this riveting series -- the pitchers.